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n practice, its use and meaning are heavily dependent on context.[5] Presently, the word nigga is used more liberally among younger members[6] of all races and ethnicities in the United States, although its use by persons not of African descent is still widely viewed as unacceptable and hostile, even when used without intentional prejudice. In addition to African Americans, other ethnicgroups[7][8] have adopted the term as part of their vernacular.

There is conflicting popular opinion on whether there is any meaningful difference between nigga and nigger as a spoken term.[9] Many people consider the terms to be equally pejorative, and the use of nigga both in and outside African American communities remains controversial.[10] H. Lewis Smith, author of Bury that Sucka: A ScandalousAffair with the N-word, believes that "replacing the 'er' with an 'a' changes nothing other than the pronunciation"[11] and the African American Registry notes, "Brother (Brotha) and Sister (Sistah or Sista) are terms of endearment. Nigger was and still is a word of disrespect."[12] The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights group, condemns use of both nigga andnigger.[9]

Some African-Americans express considerable offense when referred to as a nigga by Caucasian people, but not if they are called the same by other African-Americans, or by some other minority, as a term of endearment.[9] In this case, the term may be seen either as a symbol of brotherhood,[13] similar to the usage of the words dude and bro, and its use outside a defined social group anunwelcome cultural appropriation. Critics have derided this as a double standard.[7]

Non-rhotic English-speakers, for example many in Britain, pronounce "nigger" and "nigga" identically, as their accents do not distinguish between these two words.
Cultural influence

The term "nigga, please", first used in the 1970s by comics such as Paul Mooney as "a funny punctuation in jokes aboutBlacks,"[14] is now heard routinely in comedy routines by African Americans. The growing use of the term is often attributed to its ubiquity in modern American hip hop music.[15][16] Examples include: hip-hop group Niggaz with Attitude (N.W.A.), A Tribe Called Quest's "Sucka Nigga", Notorious B.I.G.'s song, "The Realest Niggaz", Jay-Z's "Jigga That Nigga" and Snoop Dogg's "For All My Niggaz and Bitches".Ol' Dirty Bastard uses the term 76 times in his Nigga Please album (not including repetitions in choruses).[16] This is reflected in the term's wide use in modern American gang culture. According to a Texas Monthly article about Houston gangs, many Hispanic street gang members call each other niggah.[17]

However, its use has spread beyond North America. The Portuguese comedy group, GatoFedorento, uses the word nigga in an audio sketch, where the four individuals (all Caucasian) say they are niggas ("I'm nigga, nigga; are you nigga, nigga?"), and end up admitting that they do not know what nigga means, although "people say it's amazing" (since the word isn't familiar for most Portuguese people, and is seen in the sketch simply as a strange-sounding word). Da Weasel later sang a songnamed "Nigga" in Gato Fedorento's last episode of season 5.[citation needed]

Comedian Chris Rock's routine "Niggas vs. Black People" distinguishes a nigga, which he defined as a "low-expectation-having motherfucker", from a "black person". In contrast, Tupac Shakur distinguished between nigger and nigga: "Niggers was the ones on the rope, hanging off the thing; niggas is the ones with gold ropes,hanging out at clubs."[18] Tupac, who has been credited with legitimizing the term, said his song N.I.G.G.A. stood for "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished."[19]
Use in trademarks or brand names

The Lanham Act does not permit registration of trademarks containing terms that may disparage persons or bring them into disrepute.[20] Registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office...
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